Liz Hingley





Breathing Brass explores the intimate relationship between brass instruments and players from the ex-mining area of Bolsover. The dedicated and diverse members of Bolsover’s Brass Bands today include accountants, professors, entrepreneurs, music students and even entire families, stretching generations, with ages ranging from five to eighty years of age. 

Clearing the lungs of coal miners was one of the initial functions of many brass bands. Fascinated by the way that a player’s breath moves around an instrument to create sound, Hingley employed a 3, which is normally employed in heavy industry to pinpoint gas leaks. This technique reveals the journey a player’s breath takes as it passes through a brass instrument, simultaneously leaving a trace of their DNA and tarnishing the metal. Through this process the instrument and player permanently alter each other. Photographing the unique markings engraved onto the instruments, Hingley hints at the fascinating journeys taken and told by these instruments, and their players.

Viewers can access Hingley’s dynamic video pieces captured on the specialist FLIR infrared optical gas imaging camera by using an Augmented Reality app. 

The bespoke app can be downloaded for free for iPhone here:

For Android here:

This project would not have been possible without the generosity of Chris Brown and Steve Beynon of FLIR camera systems, as well as the inspiration and support of Shirebrook Miners Welfare Band, Blidworth Welfare Band, Dronfield Band, Hucknall & Linby Miners Welfare Band and Newstead Brass. 

This project was co-commissioned by FORMAT and First Art for Flâneur – New Urban Narratives.


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